Synopses & Reviews
Why Going Against the Grain Pays.
Bestselling author Bill Bonner has long been a maverick observer of the financial and political world, sharpening his sardonic wit, in particular, on the vagaries of the investing public. Market booms and busts, tulip manias and dotcom bubbles, venture capitalists and vulture funds, he lets you know, are best explained not by dry statistics and obscure theories but by the metaphors and analogies of literature.
Now, in Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets,Bonner and freelance journalist Lila Rajiva use literary economics to offer broader insights into mass behavior and its devastating effects on society. Why is it, they ask, that perfectly sane and responsible individuals can get together, and by some bizarre alchemy turn into an irrational mob? What makes them trust charlatans and demagogues who manipulate their worst instincts? Why do they abandon good sense, good behavior and good taste when an empty slogan is waved in front of them. Why is the road to hell paved with so many sterling intentions? Why is there a" fool on every corner and a knave in every public office?
In attempting an answer, the authors weave a light-hearted journey through history, politics and finance to show group think at work in an improbable array of instances, from medieval crusades to the architectural follies of hedge-fund managers. Their journey takes them ultimately to the desk of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank and to a cautionary tale of the current bubble economy. They warn that the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan and multiplied by the sophisticated number games of Wall Street whizzes is fraught with perils for the unwary. Boom without end, pronounces The Street." But Bonner and Rajiva are more cynical. When the higher math and the greater greed come together, watch out below!
Mobs, Messiahs, and Marketsends by giving concrete advice on how readers can avoid what the authors call the public spectacle of modern finance," and become, instead, private investors -" knowing their own mind and following their own intuitions. The authors have no gimmicks to offer here -"" but instead give a better understanding of the dynamics of market behavior, allowing prudent investors to protect themselves from the fads and follies of the investment markets.
"…extremely timely…irreverent but thought-provoking examination of the goings on in international finance today… packs a serious punch." (The Independent
"To say that this book is skeptical or contrarian is like saying Warren Buffett has money....entertaining criticism of anything and everything...I read the full 400 pages in just a few days.."-Rob May at Business Pundit (Top 10 business site) http://www.businesspundit.com/50226711/mobs_messiahs_and_markets.php(Nov. 2007)
"...the recent market instability stemming out of subprime woes makes this book extremely timely." (Gulf Business, February 2008)
"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by William Bonner and Lila Rajiva is a fascinating work....downright hilarious...a serious look at an important phenomenon in the human condition."- Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty of the highly rated philosophy site, Radical Academy (Oct. 2007)
"a sharp-witted jaunt through the mass hysteria that’s defined markets and people through the ages" -Money Week (Sept. 2007)
"William Bonner and Lila Rajiva provide the answers in this exhilarating -- if somewhat depressing -- book. Although their insights will often make readers laugh out loud, they will also find themselves wriggling uncomfortably at the manifold idiocies of human behaviour." -The National Post, Canada (Nov. 07)
"Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay would be a better choice to begin. Without that context for this book, you'll find yourself gobbling caviar without knowing what it is." - Donald Mitchell, author of The 2000 Percent Solution, December 18, 2007
"A fascinating book," - Alan Caruba in Book Views, December, 2007
"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets is a tragi-comedy, full of sharp observations, delivered with equally sharp wit. This book's dark and disturbing revelations could leave one depressed and disillusioned, were it not so damn funny." -- Adam Bergen at Blog Critics, December 31, 2007
Collectively, people think and act in ways that are different from how they think and act as individuals. Understanding these differences, says William (Bill) Bonnera longtime maverick observer of the financial world and the vagaries of the investing publicis vital to preserving your wealth and personal dignity. From the witch hunts of the early modern world to the war on terror, from the dot-com mania to the real estate bubble, people have always been caught up in frauds, conceits, and wild guessesoften with devastating results. In Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets, Bonner and coauthor Lila Rajiva show groupthink at work in an improbable array of instances throughout history and reveal why swimming against the current pays. They explain why people so often abandon good sense and good behavior to "follow the crowd" and show you how to avoid getting caught up in the public spectacles around you.
If an investor merely recognizes the way mob sentiment works, the authors point out, he is far ahead of most others. Ordinary people, for example, turn over billions of dollars' worth of their hard-earned money to brokers and mutual fund managers every dayimmediate, tangible, personal moneybelieving that strangers will give them back even more. Whatever would make them think so?
Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets demonstrates that investors are in fact caught between a rock and a soft placebetween the private world they can understand and master and the misleading public spectacle of the markets. "The further away you get from your investments, and the less you suffer the consequences if they go bad, the worse your performance will be," say Bonner and Rajiva. "That's why 'collective' investments like index-linked funds,mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance funds, and pension funds are usually so bad. The investors are too far from the factsand the managers are too far from the consequences."
The authors' cautionary tale of the current bubble economy warns that the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan is fraught with perils for the unwarybut their thoughtful and always entertaining approach also offers some sound investing principles for avoiding the pitfalls of the public spectacle, thinking for yourself, and protecting your money, your sanity, and your soul.
Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets
"This book strikes at the center of conventional wisdom. It is brilliant and fun to read."
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan
"As fun to read as it is thought-provoking and filled with fascinating insights into how the world really works."
—John Mauldin, President, Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC and author of Bull's Eye Investing and Just One Thing
"Learn about Fed bubbles and make Ben Bernanke unhappy: read this book."
—Lew Rockwell, President, the Ludwig von Mises Institute
"A cock-eyed, frolicking hell of a read."
—Dr. Mark Skousen, Professor of Economics and author of EconoPower
"I laughed aloud, I learned, and I was even offended. Behind the crafty writing, the authors share the deeper secrets of investing and push us to question what we believe."
—Steve Sjuggerud, Editor of the investment newsletter True Wealth
"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets is one of the funniest and most entertaining books I have ever read. If I had to name just one book investors should read, this is the one I would select."
—Dr. Marc Faber, contrarian guru, author of Tomorrow's Gold, and Editor of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report
"Entertainingly and irreverently investigates the 'do-gooders' and 'world-improvers' who stir up mass hysteria, unjustified wars, and financial crises, while at the same time it warns readers how to better protect themselves and their pocketbooks."
—Ron Paul, United States Congressman
Bonner and Rajiva use literary economics to offer broad insights into mass behavior and its devastating effects on society. To understand such behavior, the authors weave a light-hearted journey through history, politics, and finance to show group mentality at work in an improbable array of instances.
An insightful look at how to succeed by going against
Collectively, people think and act in ways that are different from how they think and act as individuals. Understanding these differences, says William (Bill) Bonner-a longtime maverick observer of the financial world and the vagaries of the investing public-is vital to preserving your wealth and personal dignity. From the witch-hunts of the early modern world to the war on terror, from dot-com mania to the real estate bubble, people have always been caught up in frauds, conceits, and wild guesses-often with devastating results. In Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets, Bonner and coauthor Lila Rajiva show groupthink at work in an improbable array of instances throughout history and reveal why swimming against the current pays.
- Shares the deeper secrets of investing and pushes you to question what this means for your financial well-being
- Explains why people so often abandon good sense and good behavior to "follow the crowd"
- Offers concrete advice on how you can avoid the "public spectacle" of modern finance
The authors' cautionary tale of bubble economies reveals how the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan has wreaked havoc on our lives-but their thoughtful and always entertaining approach also offers some sound investing principles for avoiding the pitfalls of the public spectacle, thinking for yourself, and protecting your money, your sanity, and your soul.
An intriguing look at how past market wisdom can help you survive and thrive during uncertain times
In Wealth, War & Wisdom, legendary Wall Street investor Barton Biggs reveals how the turning points of World War II intersected with market performance, and shows how these lessons can help the twenty-first-century investor comprehend our own perilous times as well as choose the best strategies for the modern market economy.
Through these pages, Biggs skillfully discusses the performance of equities in both victorious and defeated countries, examines how individuals preserved their wealth despite the ongoing battles, and explores whether or not public equities were able to increase in value and serve as a wealth preserver. Biggs also looks at how other assets, including real estate and gold, fared during this dynamic and devastating period, and offers valuable insights on preserving one's wealth for future generations. With clear, concise prose, Biggs
- Reveals how the investment insights of truly trying times can be profitably applied to modern day investment endeavors
- Follows the performance of global markets against the backdrop of World War II
- Offers many relevant lessons-about life, politics, financial markets, wealth, and survival-that can help you thrive in the face of adversity
Wealth, War & Wisdom contains essential insights that will help you navigate modern financial markets during the uncertain times that will increasingly define this new century.
"Barton Biggs's Wealth, War & Wisdom
entertains us with a creative juxtaposition of a war narrative and a security market history. As has been the case throughout his remarkable career, Biggs adds to our store of knowledge with his elegant, wonderfully crafted prose."—From the Foreword by David F. Swensen, Chief Investment Officer, Yale University
"Barton Biggs has brought his love of history together with half a century of investment experience and written a remarkably readable book about the destruction of wealth and the wisdom of markets during World War II. It is both scholarly and impressionistic and will likely become a mainstay in the libraries of serious financial people for generations."—Byron Wien, Chief Investment Strategist, Pequot Capital Management, Inc.
At least once in every century there has been an episode of massive wealth destruction. How do you preserve wealth amidst chaos, and are there messages from what has happened in the past? In Wealth, War & Wisdom, renowned Wall Street investor Barton Biggs studies World War II. He notes the surprising and previously unrecognized wisdom of stock markets in discerning the major tipping points. He then examines the performance of different asset classes, and what happened to wealth before and during the war. Filled with in-depth observations and practical advice, Wealth, War & Wisdom provides lessons to be learned as to what steps should be taken to preserve and enhance wealth in times of the most extreme adversity.
About the Author
William (Bill) Bonner
is President and CEO of Agora Financial, one of the world's largest financial newsletter companies (www.agorafinancial.com). He is the creator of the Daily Reckoning, a contrarian financial newsletter (www.dailyreckoning.com). Bonner is also the author, with Addison Wiggin, of the international bestsellers Financial Reckoning Day
and Empire of Debt
Lila Rajiva is a political journalist and the author of The Language of Empire, a groundbreaking study of the media coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. She is a contributor to Agora Financial (www.agorafinancial.com) and the creator of the blog, The Mind-Body Politic (www.lilarajiva.wordpress.com).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Listen to the Market Crowd.
Chapter 2. A World Darkened by Fear.
Chapter 3. Stock Markets Struggle.
Chapter 4. "1940: The Most Splendid, Most Deadly Year".
Chapter 5. Besieged and Alone: England in 1941.
Chapter 6. Operation Barbarossa: Germany Attacks Russia.
Chapter 7. Miracles at the Coral Sea and Midway: Japan and America.
Chapter 8. Stock Markets Understood: Nobody Else Did.
Chapter 9. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Ride Again.
Chapter 10. France Declines Financially, Economically, and Socially.
Chapter 11. Gone with the Wind: Preserving Wealth in Italy and Germany.
Chapter 12. Stalingrad: The Battle of the Century.
Chapter 13. Defeats and then Victories in Asia and North Africa.
Chapter 14. The Test in Korea: The Last Battle of WWII.
Chapter 15. Preserving Wealth in a Time of Cholera.
Chapter 16. Barbarians at the Gates.